Set on a sharp curve in the Seine, the town of Les Andelys grew around the 12th century Château-Gaillard. Richard I of England constructed the immense stronghold in just one year, to strengthen his position as the Duke of Normandy. The castle stands on a steep cliff overlooking the river, this strategic position enabled it to survive a siege for a year before it fell to the French in 1204.
Once Normandy became part of France the château saw very little unrest, and it was partly demolished by Henri IV in the 16th century as a result. The pretty town of Les Andelys had continued to grow in that time, due mainly to its riverside position - and today it still retains many timber-beamed houses from its historic past.